I recently took part in the &Stitches blog’s first embroidery swap; the theme was “Places,” and it took me the longest time to decide what in the world to stitch up for my partner Liz, who lives in New Zealand. First I thought I should focus on something locally famous, but I just couldn’t get excited about stitching corn or Abraham Lincoln or a map of Illinois or even Old Main at EIU. One day I was fretting around the house with my restless energy and Pritts told me (as he often does), “Go to your tree.”
“Go to your tree” is a reference to one of our favorite moves, I Heart Huckabees. The film follows a struggling environmental activist poet who hires two existential detectives to investigate the meaning of a coincidence he’s experienced. Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin play the detectives; angst and hilarity ensues. At one point, the detectives lead Albert (the activist) through a guided meditation in which he’s supposed to imagine a tree, and then imagine someone he respects sitting in that tree. Another character, Dawn, a model and spokeswoman for the fictional mega department store Huckabees, later uses the same meditation during an argument with her boyfriend, telling him, “I’m in my tree talking to the Dixie Chicks, and they’re making me feel better.” So the joke around here is that when I get fretful and harried, I need to go to my tree. The Dixie Chicks are in my tree, and Captain Picard, and they calm me and remind me to live my values.
The tree is a place of calm reflection, of rootedness, of realization that everything is connected. So when Pritts said, “Go to your tree,” I was thinking, “Yes! My tree. Go to my tree. My tree is my happy place. Go to my happy place…place…place. Place? My tree is a place! I’m going to stitch my tree! BOOM! Problem = solved.” 🙂
So I played with fabric applique and a bunch of different random stitches and ended up with this piece:
I love the image I found of the Dixie Chicks with a cloudy sky background, posed as though they’re leering down out of someone’s psychic illusion. Perfect. Then I gave the tree a colorful, sort of wonky feeling background to add to the effect of a dreamlike scenario. Silly, maybe, but definitely fun to stitch. I hope Liz likes it.